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BackStory with the American History Guys

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BackStory is a weekly one-hour public radio show that provides a national broadcast audience with an enjoyable and accessible way of engaging challenging themes in American history and how they connect with today. The show is hosted by renowned historians Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh. BackStory’s signature sound and spirit of inquiry emanates from the hearts and minds of its genial hosts, whose unscripted brilliance reflects a warmth and rapport that comes from their longtime friendship.

Please confirm carriage of BackStory with the American History Guys by contacting Andrew Parsons at (434) 982-2955 or andrewparsons@virginia.edu.

Moving from current headlines to drill down into U.S. history, each surprising BackStory episode features lively interviews with a diverse roster of scholars, experts, and ordinary citizens from around the country; listener calls; host discussions; and produced pieces. Topics are as diverse as college sports, reenactments, sugar, memorials, domestic terrorism, birthing, homeownership, the post office, philanthropy, protests, privacy, marriage, revivalism, and childhood—all in the context of American history.

Since BackStory first began as a monthly show in 2008, episodes have been broadcast by more than 130 primary stations in 39 states, 29 in the top 50 markets by population. Podcasts have been downloaded 1.4 million times.

BackStory is produced by VFH Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional corporate, foundation, institutional, and individual support.

Please visit our station landing page for upcoming episodes, promotional photos, and other information.

 


Pieces

Caption: “The Lady Cop. She will never be a success on some “fixed posts.” in: Puck, 1885, Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Politically Incorrect" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: May 31, 2016
  • Length: :00
Caption: “The Lady Cop. She will never be a success on some “fixed posts.” in: Puck, 1885 , Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Politically Incorrect" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: May 31, 2016
  • Length: :30
Caption: A rabbit serves a meal to three kittens (Harry Whittier Frees, c1870)
This past March, Sea World announced it will stop breeding orca whales in captivity, and is phasing out its killer whale shows. Meanwhile, the elep...

Bought by XRAY.fm, WRGY, WRIR, RadioFreePalmer, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: May 27, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: A rabbit serves a meal to three kittens (Harry Whittier Frees, c1870)
This past March, Sea World announced it will stop breeding orca whales in captivity, and is phasing out its killer whale shows. Meanwhile, the elep...

  • Added: May 27, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: A rabbit serves a meal to three kittens (Harry Whittier Frees, c1870)
30-second promo for "The Beasts Within" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: May 24, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Detail from cocaine toothache drops advertisement, 1885., Credit: Library of Congress
To date, four states have legalized recreational marijuana, 23 states allow it for medical purposes and at least another five are expected to pass ...

  • Added: May 20, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
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To date, four states have legalized recreational marijuana, 23 states allow it for medical purposes and at least another five are expected to pass ...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WEZU, XRAY.fm, RadioFreePalmer, WRGY and more


  • Added: May 20, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Detail from cocaine toothache drops advertisement, 1885., Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "All Hopped Up: Drugs in America [rebroadcast]" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: May 17, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Throne room, Iolani Palace, King & Richards Streets, Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI., Credit: Library of Congress
Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday this June and royal watchers around the globe will join the festivities. Despite the Founding Fathers ...

  • Added: May 13, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Throne room, Iolani Palace, King & Richards Streets, Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI., Credit: Library of Congress
Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday this June and royal watchers around the globe will join the festivities. Despite the Founding Fathers ...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WRFA-LP, XRAY.fm, WRPI, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: May 13, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Throne room, Iolani Palace, King & Richards Streets, Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI., Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Watch The Throne: America & Royalty" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: May 10, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Still in the game., Credit: Library of Congress
This May, thousands of Americans will bet on the Kentucky Derby, the most heavily-wagered horse race in the U.S. On this episode of BackStory, the ...

  • Added: May 08, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Still in the game., Credit: Library of Congress
This May, thousands of Americans will bet on the Kentucky Derby, the most heavily-wagered horse race in the U.S. On this episode of BackStory, the ...

Bought by WEZU, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, XRAY.fm, WRPI, WRGY and more


  • Added: May 06, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Still in the game., Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "All In: A History of Gambling in America" with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: May 03, 2016
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
Where do Jewish food and culture meet in a tasty way? The deli, of course. This story comes from the BackStory episode "Judaism in America." http:/...

Bought by WETS, KREV-LP, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Apr 29, 2016
  • Length: 07:37
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Junior High School: Classroom, by Harris & Ewing., Credit: Library of Congress
The mother-daughter team of Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs-Myers invented the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test to help women find jobs dur...

Bought by WETS, KREV-LP, and KRZA


  • Added: Apr 29, 2016
  • Length: 11:34
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: Junior High School: Classroom, by Harris & Ewing., Credit: Library of Congress
Until the late 19th century, party affiliation mattered more than qualification when it came to landing a job in the federal government. The Guys t...

Bought by WETS and KREV-LP


  • Added: Apr 29, 2016
  • Length: 08:43
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: “The Almightier,” illustration from Puck, May 15th, 1907, Credit: Library of Congress
This month, the U.S. Treasure announced that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. In this episode, we evaluate...

  • Added: Apr 29, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: “The Almightier,” illustration from Puck, May 15th, 1907 , Credit: Library of Congress
This month, the U.S. Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. In this episode, we evaluate...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WYAP, KFCF FM, XRAY.fm, WRFA-LP and more


  • Added: Apr 29, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: Junior High School: Classroom, by Harris & Ewing, Credit: Library of Congress
Psychologist Henry Goddard thought he could devise a test that would accurately rank students based on intelligence, but his ideas and methods were...

Bought by WETS and KREV-LP


  • Added: Apr 29, 2016
  • Length: 11:56
  • Purchases: 2